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Grow Your Email List With An Opt-In Form

You're an online business owner. And if you're anything like me - you have been busting your butt trying to market your services or products on social media.

And it is exhausting.

In fact, some days the absolute LAST thing I want to do is open up the Instagram app and record a reel.

That's exactly why I have an email list!

Your email list is a powerful tool, and it can make you a lot of money in the long run - without having to search for trending audio or learn a new dance move!

Are you vigorously shaking your head because YOU are ready to log off social media once in a while and grow your email list?

The easiest way to do this? An opt in form!

In this blog post, I'm going to explain exactly what an opt-in form is and the reasons you should consider making it a priority for your online business! 

What is an Opt In Form?

Simply put, an opt-in form is just a way for people to sign up to receive your emails. It's like a virtual sign-up sheet that lets visitors provide their email address to join your mailing list.

Whenever you see a box on a website that says something like "Subscribe to our newsletter" or "Get your free guide" and has a field to enter your email - that's an opt-in form!

The "opt-in" part means the person is voluntarily giving permission for you to send emails to their inbox. This is important because laws exist to prevent businesses from sending unsolicited emails (spam) to people who didn't agree upfront.

When someone fills out an opt-in form, they are virtually raising their hand and saying "Yes, I want to receive emails from you!" That way, you know you have their consent to email them marketing messages, updates, tips, and other great content.

There are several different types of opt-in forms that businesses can use to grow their email lists. These are the most common ones:

Inline Opt-In Forms (I use these on my website) These are basic opt-in forms that are embedded directly into a webpage, usually in the sidebar, header, footer or within the content area. They are simple and unobtrusive. Here's what mine looks like:

Popup Opt-In Forms Popup forms are modal boxes that slide or pop up over the webpage content after a set time delay or user action (like scrolling). They tend to be more attention-grabbing than inline forms.

Floating Box/Bar Opt-In A floating opt-in bar is a narrower box that slides onto the page from the top, bottom, or corner. It "floats" over the content in a non-intrusive way.

No matter where your opt in form lives, the purpose is always the same - to capture a visitor's email address so you can build an email list of subscribers.

Why Opt-In Forms Are a Must for Online Businesses

Having an opt-in form is honestly the simplest way to start building a valuable list of email subscribers. Here are a few key reasons why online business owners should make opt-in forms an important part of their overall marketing strategy:

  1. Build an Owned Audience: One of the biggest advantages of using opt-in forms is that you get to build an audience database that you truly own. With social media, you're essentially renting followers from those platforms who can change the rules at any time. (Surely you've heard stories of big influencers having their entire account shut down at a moment's notice?) But an email list is fully owned by your business. No matter what happens on social media, you'll always be able to directly communicate with subscribers who opted-in through your forms.

  2. Direct Communication Channel: Having an email list gives you a direct line to reach your audience's inboxes whenever you want. There are no algorithms, news feeds, or other gatekeepers controlling whether your message gets seen like on social platforms. When you send an email campaign, it gets delivered straight to everyone's inbox who subscribed through your opt-in forms. This direct communication channel is invaluable.

  3. Generate Warm Leads: The people providing their email address through your opt-in forms are actively expressing interest in your business and what you offer. These are essentially warm leads given the fact they opted-in voluntarily. With a list of engaged subscribers built from opt-ins, you have a database of prospects primed and ready for your marketing campaigns.

  4. Increase Sales & Promotions: One of the most powerful benefits of opt-in forms is their ability to drive sales and revenue for your business. Your email list built from opt-ins provides you a direct way to promote products, services, launches, and offers to an audience who wants to receive your messages. Leveraging your list is one of the most effective tactics to increase sales.

  5. Comply with Anti-Spam Laws: In the US, there are laws governing permission-based email marketing to prevent spam and abuse. By using opt-in forms, you ensure every subscriber has explicitly given consent to receive your emails. This helps keep you compliant with spam laws like CAN-SPAM and builds trust with your audience that you have permission to email them.

  6. Low-Cost: For businesses on a budget, email marketing can be one of the most cost-effective channels for driving high ROI once you build an engaged list through opt-ins. Most email marketing platforms have lower subscription costs compared to other paid advertising channels (running Ads, for example). And you can consistently remarket to subscribers interested in your brand.

  7. Easily Track Metrics: A key advantage of using opt-in forms and email marketing is the ability to track valuable engagement metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and conversions. This data helps optimize your campaigns over time. Tracking engagement is much harder on social media platforms that restrict analytics access.

While social media is great for awareness, your email list is truly your most valuable asset online. Without one, you're missing out on a direct line to your audience and a key sales channel.

How to Create an Opt-In Form

The first thing you’ll want to do is choose an Email Marketing Platform.  You'll need a place to collect and store subscriber emails. Popular options include ConvertKit, FloDesk, Active Campaign, and MailerLite. Check out THIS blog post for more details on how you should choose the right Email Marketing Platform for your business.

My # 1 recommended email marketing platform is ConvertKit because it has been built specifically for the needs of creators building online businesses. I love ConvertKit for its automation and segmenting options.

It offers powerful automation capabilities, allowing you to set up automated email sequences based on user actions or specific triggers. This helps in nurturing leads and engaging subscribers with relevant content.

For example, When someone purchases one of my digital products, they automatically get an email delivering the product (or describing how to log in to the course portal, and a follow up email a few days later to check in.

You can try ConvertKit for free here, but to really get the all the benefits, I recommend upgrading to the Creator plan, which is $290 per year for up to 1000 subscribers.

Here are the next steps you'll take:

  1. Create the Form: Once you have decided on an Email Marketing Platform, simply go into the form builder and select "Create a New Form." Depending on the platform you've chosen you'll be able to customize the fields, colors, and layout to match your branding.

  2. Collect your Customer's Information: Remember that you're gathering only the information you need, which in this instance is their name and email address. 3. Add a disclaimer: Let your potential customers know that their information is safe with you and that you won't send them spam, and that they can unsubscribe from your list at any time. Here's an example of the text you could use: 📧 Email Disclaimer 📧 We respect your privacy and will never spam you or share your email address with third parties. By providing your email address, you are opting in to receive occasional updates, promotions, and news from [Your Company Name]. You can unsubscribe at any time. 4. Publish the Form: After you're satisfied with the design of your form, you'll need to embed it on your website. Embedding means integrating external content (in this case, a opt in form) onto your webpage, using a piece of code. No worries if tech isn't your jam - if your email service provider has the functionality to create forms, it will be able to provide all the code for you, so all you'll have to do is copy and paste it! 5. Start Promoting: Talk about your exclusive email list every chance you get!

And that's it! While there are more advanced strategies around lead magnets and marketing funnels, simply having an opt-in form on your site is the first step to starting an email list.

Remember, your subscribers opted-in because they're interested in what you have to offer. So nurture that relationship by sending them regular, valuable content. Do that, and your list (and profits!) will grow steadily over time. ❤️

Ready to grow your online business but not sure where to start? Don't spending hours researching, watching You Tube videos or asking a friend what they did. Grab the Online Business Checklist and start your side hustle today!


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